Farm Bill 2023: Why lending organizations make powerful agri-advocates, and what they can do

How will your lending organization advocate for ag producers in the coming year?

The year 2023 will be a crucial time to make your voice heard. A new Congress will convene to shape, draft and vote on the 2023 Farm Bill, putting five years of agri-policy on the line.

With fewer advocates for rural America giving voice to the issues that affect rural Americans, now is the time for all stakeholders to educate and advocate.

Through our partnerships, we’re providing capital and opportunity to ag producers across the United States. As a community leader, elevate value to your clients by advocating for ag-friendly policies in the Farm Bill, while remaining aware of the challenges and opportunities facing producers.

Farm Bill 2023: What’s at stake?

The 2018 Farm Bill expires September 30, 2023. With the new bill expected to be the first trillion-dollar Farm Bill, it’s as complex as ever. Meaning the House and Senate ag committees could spend more than a year hammering out funding priorities, rules, initiatives and allocations. In fact, several experts have also expressed the possibility of extending the current bill until a 2023 Farm Bill can be passed.

What is the makeup of the Farm Bill? The current bill is divided into these focus groups: nutrition, crop insurance, conservation, commodities, trade, energy, rural development, research, forestry, horticulture and credit. Nutrition program expenditures account for more than 75% of the current bill, while crop insurance accounts for 9%, and commodities and conservation are each at 7%.

Due to inflation and the rapid increase in food costs, the Nutrition program spending in the 2023 Farm Bill is projected to increase by 10%. Unless reforms are enacted, that leaves less funding for the farming baseline — a major concern of ag groups.

Decision 2023: Who’s shaping our Farm Bill?

Look at the current makeup of Congress, and a theme emerges. Their connection to rural issues is limited.

  • Of the 435 House seats, only three dozen or so representatives hail from primarily rural districts.
  • 50% of House members and 25% of Senators are newcomers to working on the Farm Bill.

Make a difference by sharing your perspective, and help lawmakers understand what’s at stake. These coming decisions will shape the rural economy and its ability to maintain a healthy, affordable and adequate food supply for all.

How to stay in the know with the Farm Bill

The final form of the Farm Bill will have an impact on producers and their livelihoods for the next 4-6 years. As your lending organization maps out its plan to advocate in 2023, use the following to help you hone your message to lawmakers.

Agriculture groups

Most ag groups at the local, state and national levels have already identified their top Farm Bill priorities, including any grassroots efforts to influence policy. Get in touch with what matters most to your clients by keying in on top Farm Bill issues. Sign up for newsletters, follow them on social media and check their websites for important updates and new advocacy opportunities.

Connect with lawmakers

As a lending organization, one of the best ways to advocate for agri-business this year is connecting with lawmakers who will be shaping and voting on the Farm Bill. Remember, a large portion of lawmakers will be new to the Farm Bill. Education is more critical than ever.

As a lender, you have the pulse on the economic activity in your region, and you know firsthand the impact the Farm Bill has on ag producers. Your perspective will be valuable, particularly if you have the data and firsthand outcomes to bolster your ag-forward argument.

Write letters: Send a letter outlining your concerns and policies you support to your United States representative and your two senators. Don’t underestimate the power of connection.

Participate in local events: Many ag groups plan visits to the Capitol or host in-person events within home districts. These are set up to educate lawmakers and show them real-world outcomes from sound policy that solves problems and promotes innovation. Support these efforts where you can, by providing time, physical space or other resources.

In a divided nation, it’s important to focus on our shared interests. The health of our food supply is at stake. Family farmers and ranchers are counting on Congress to shape agricultural policies that build on the successes of the 2018 Farm Bill so they can succeed on the field and in the marketplace. With your advocacy, you can help them achieve even more these next five years.

Let’s discuss how we can expand your ag lending power.